No, scratch that. He's taking me to the middle of nowhere. Just dumping me off, getting me out of his hair. And for the first time in my life, I hate my father.
“This is for your own good, boy!” he growls, eyeing me in the rear view mirror. It's times like this I wish I had a mother.
“Whatever,” I mumble in a voice that's even smaller than how I feel.
“What you were doing... with that boy... is a sin, Noah! A sin!”
I turn my eyes toward the window, unable to face him, and sick of looking at the floor. I hate him. I hate him so much it hurts. The scenery has changed after so many hours of driving and the green trees almost bring me peace.
“I don't see the point of this,” I mutter, still not looking at him.
“The point of what?”
“This... stupid camp thing. Can't you just let me be?”
I want to cry but I don't. My eyes burn but I hold it in. My father thinks I'm queer. I'm not, but crying won't help.
“No son of mine is going to be... that way, Noah.”
“I'm not!!” I shout. I look at him now, but he refuses to look at me. I repulse him.
“But I'm sure sticking me in a camp with a bunch of guys isn't going to make any of this better.”
I'm being rude, something I had never been in my life, but I so desperately don't want to go. What was the big deal? So I held Jacob's hand. I remember health class, the teacher telling us about sexual orientation and how experimenting was a healthy thing. It didn't always mean anything. Jacob was a close friend. Nothing more. I knew that now. But I lost control for a second. I don't really know how going for a swim changed that day. We swam, jumped from a rocky cliff and dried ourselves on the cliff after we were spent. We laughed so hard that it took a while for our breathing to even out. And I remember Jacob asking me if he could tell me a secret...
My father's voice is low and still burning with rage. I nod. I get out and my mind tells me to run. But where? A million miles south? I swallow my fear and guilt and anguish before my father hands me my duffel bag and my trunk and without more than a few words, he's gone. Bastard. He really left me here. I look around and I'm met by a boy who's a few inches shorter than I am. He helps me with my bag and tells me his name but I'm not listening. I want to go home.
I notice a few feet away a black lincoln pull up. A blonde boy gets out, kicking and screaming. I smile. At least I wasn't the only one dragged out here. I handled it better, no doubt, but I admire his determination. I had long given up fighting my father.
“Luke! This is not for me!”
I watch as an older blonde gets out and tries to calm the kid down.
“Who's it for then Damian?! I barely know you! You just show up when things get messy, but when I needed you.... I'm gay goddammit! Don't you get it?! No fucking camp is going to change that!”
A smile begins to form at the corner of my mouth before I turn back, following a beaten path. It's a summer camp designed to sometime change gay kids straight. To normal people, it makes no sense. But to desperate parents, it's a prayer answered.
I hate my father.
And from what I can hear, I'm not alone with that thought either.